O Brother, Where Art Thou? Image
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 174 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A trio of escaped prisoners (Clooney, Nelson, Turturro) embarks on the adventure of a lifetime as they set out to pursue their freedom and the promise of sharing in the division of a fortune in buried treasure. (Touchstone Pictures)
  • Director: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
  • Genre(s): Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Music
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Runtime: 106 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. A wildly original movie with astonishingly varied moods and influences.
  2. Clooney has become a movie star, and the Coens have given him his very own "It Happened One Night." The man, and the movie, are downright bona fide.
  3. The film is worth seeing for George Clooney's performance. More than ever he seems like a Clark Gable for our time.
  4. 64
    For all its originality, O Brother doesn't seem to have a point, or enough spark to distract us from the lack thereof.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Of all unlikely possibilities, the team has finally made a movie that, for them, is on the tepid side.
  6. Why would filmmakers with this much talent work this hard to thumb their noses at everything they put on screen?

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 51
  2. Negative: 2 out of 51
  1. Apr 16, 2011
    10
    This may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show.This may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show. Structurally, it is a 'road movie', though it borrows the episodic encounters with larger-than-life characters from Homer's Odyssey (including sirens and a cyclops!). But the artful combination of its photography and music with delightful story and characters makes this one of most bewitching and beautiful road movies ever made.

    The critics seem to find it shallow, though I struggle to understand why. In addition to being genuinely funny and centred upon rich characters, the story includes a fair weight of political satire and a sprinkling of the Coens' strange metaphysical fascinations, with the Devil making his own cameo in the form of a lawman. If this is too shallow, I wonder what comedies the critics have been watching that are so deep?

    If people are confusing depth for emotionalism, perhaps they should stick to rewatching the English Patient.
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  2. Jun 28, 2012
    10
    " "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human" "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human existence. "

    ... So what's the problem?

    Even if you are a fan of slow paced, existential cinema - and generally avoid screwball comedies - this is worth a watch.
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  3. AngelA.
    Feb 11, 2006
    10
    Moving and transporting -- beautiful and hilarious... Simply a stunning work of art.
  4. Jun 2, 2013
    10
    This film was the best.. They did so terrific on this movie and will continue to be the best till the end of time. The soundtrack isThis film was the best.. They did so terrific on this movie and will continue to be the best till the end of time. The soundtrack is excellent. Everything in this is perfect and just the way it should be, no more and no less.... I would love to see another movie like this be released in the future and of course put alot of work into it casue this one was great and the next one would also need to be great.

    I love films thats old or old and western style... Just pure excellent. 10/10
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  5. patrickd.
    Sep 22, 2005
    9
    Not the best movie ever, but certainly a good one.
  6. Jun 16, 2013
    9
    The Coen Brothers deliver another classic and unique comedy that explores friendship, accidental fame and a vast amount of unforgettableThe Coen Brothers deliver another classic and unique comedy that explores friendship, accidental fame and a vast amount of unforgettable characters, with George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson taking centre stage as three escaped convicts on the search for treasure in Depression-era America.
    As the three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney), Delamar O'Donnell (Nelson) and Pete Hogwallop (Turturro) all have their own intentions in regards to freedom, and their adventures lead them down a road of robbery, music recordings and deals with the devil, with each scene oozing with its own flare and brilliant dialogue.
    Everett is desperate for the right sort of hair wax and hairnets,while Pete and Delamar decide to get cleansed at a local baptism, they happen across an array of characters including the wonderful John Goodman who is a fast talking biblical salesman and sets his sights on the convicts. As they travel throughout the land in search for their treasure and also trying to evade the authorities, their musical fame and selection of friends may just catch up on them.
    With an excellent soundtrack and stand out performances, the film will be difficult to forget for its bizarre yet hilarious flow and its band of misfit characters who make their roles their own, Clooney shows the Coen style of his acting as this was the sort of character he played later on in 'Burn After Reading", fast, edgy but hysterical, while Turturro plays a more serious and hardened man, but Nelson is the complete opposite, seemingly a bit of a simpleton, but combined they create quite the trio, stumbling into various avenues of opportunities and luckily evading the law in surprising fashion.
    The exciting style of the Coen brothers has never been more apparent, their larger than life characters, while most are loosely based on 'Homer's Odyssey', the actor portraying them brings a sense of craze and unique quality to the role. The funniest moments of the film come from the the situations the trio get involved in, whether happening upon a bank robbery or a KKK gathering, Clooney leading the show is brilliant, his characters random bursts of knowledgeable facts are excellent.
    Excellent comedy and an unforgettable addition to the Coen Brothers filmography.
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  7. christopher
    May 30, 2009
    1
    "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human existence. One may find the wanton slaughter of cows, superficially sexualized Sirens, satanic black side kick, mocked/idealized villains, commercial contemporary take on folk music, incidental ties to Greek tragedy, and general aimlessness (tied together with a cute little literal string) to be light-hearted fun, but to see it as repugnant is an equally appropriate reaction. This is a story of selfishness and stupidity signifying nothing. The characters live in a beautiful world and have zero appreciation for it. This is exemplified by the slick, soulless direction and obvious, ugly digitized cinematography. "O Brother" can be called nihilistic and smug with perfect reason because, for all it creativity and polish, it is an intentionally aloft meditation on negativity and cynicism. At least "Days of Heaven" seems to have some sense of appreciation for atmosphere and environment even as it utilizes Depression era elements. Nihilism can be overtly expressed or implied, and "O Brother" wears it less like a badge than like a favorite pair of dirty socks kept in some high drawer, right next to a baby skull paper weight for a pornographic magazine. Sometimes laughter is a sign of sickness. JAFO (just another ****ing opinion) for what it is worth. Cheers. Expand

See all 51 User Reviews